Update: 2015-06-20 12:27 AM -0400


A Pali grammar on the basis of Kachchayano

Shin Kic-si, {kic~s:} , or Kachchayano


by F. Mason, Toungoo, 1867  
Downloaded from
1. http://books.google.com/books?...  110727
   the above site, 251 pdf pages: - PDF-Mason (link chk 150619)
   Since many pages of PDF-Mason are not legible, you will need to open -
   - PDF-EM (link chk 150619)
2. German website:  http://www.mdz-nbn-resolving.de/urn/resolver.pl?urn=urn:nbn:de:bvb:12-bsb10248714-1  130918
http://reader.digitale- sammlungen.de/en/fs1/object/display/bsb10248714_00013.html 
Pix on right: from source #2. Click on the pix to see the cover of 1867.

Reproduced and edited with additions by U Kyaw Tun (UKT) (M.S., I.P.S.T., USA) and staff of Tun Institute of Learning (TIL) . Since the original first pdf reproduced from the original book, which was not very readable in some pages, I have taken some from Mazard's Version of Mason's Pali Grammar, by Francis Mason & Eisel Mazard (馬大影), first distribution in 2015, downloaded - PDF-EM 150609. Not for sale. No copyright. Free for everyone. Prepared for students and staff of TIL  Computing and Language Center, Yangon, MYANMAR :  http://www.tuninst.net

index.htm | Top

Contents of this page 

UKT 150609: Many are still thinking that Alphabet and Akshara (or Abugida) are the same. A consonantal glyph in Alphabet such as /k/ is not pronounceable until you supply it with a vowel such as /a/. It then becomes a syllable /ka/ and is pronounceable. However, a consonantal glyph in Akshara (or Abugida) is already a syllable and is pronounceable. Thus {ka.} can be pronounced. The inherent vowel in {ka.} can be killed with a virama (shortened to "viram") {a.t}, in which case it becomes equal to a letter in the Alphabet.

{ka.} /ka/ + viram --> {k} /k/

The virama {a.t} is simply a "a vowel killer". It is also referred to as a "devowelizer" in MLC MED2006-601.
Since Alphabet is not the same as Akshara, I have replaced the word "Alphabet" in many pages with "Akshara".

Preface (1868) - Mason - pre.htm (complete)
Introduction (1868) - Mason - c00.htm (complete) 
  Introduction to Kachchayana's Grammar - James D'Alwis, Colombo, 1863, - c00-Alwi.htm (only 5/132 completed)
     D'Alwis Introduction covers roman-i to roman-cxxxvi amounting to 136 regular pages equiv to 287 pdf pages.
     The first 132 pages equiv to 272 pdf-pages are in English. The last 14 pdf-pages are in Lanka script.
  An Introduction (for 2015) by Eisel Mazard (馬大影), 265 pdf pages - c00-EM.htm (complete)

Chapter 01. The Akshara - c01.htm
Akshara. 001. Origin of the Pali akshara. 003. Simplicity of the Pali akshara. 005. Age of the akshara . 007. Modern akshara . 008. The Pali language. 010. Derivation of word Pali. 011. Extension of the Pali language. 013. The first Pali grammar. 014. Number of letters. 015. Division of letters. 017. Pronunciation. 017.

Chapter 02. Permutation - c02.htm
When two vowels meet. 021. Kaccayano's rules. 027. General rules. 028. Insertion of consonants. 028. When vowels are followed by consonants. 029. The nasal symbol, anuswara. 031.

Chapter 03. Tables of Declension - c03.htm
Nouns. 034. First declension. 034. Second declension. 037. Third declension. 039. Irregular nouns. 042. Adjectives. 043. Participles. 045. Numerical adjectives. 046. Pronouns. 048. Rock-cut declension. 055.

Chapter 04. Declension of Nouns. p.111

Chapter 05. Declension of Adjectives (incl. numbers). p.122

Chapter 06. Declension of Pronouns. p.131

Chapter 07. Verbs. p.135

Chapter 08. Indeclinable Words. p.198

Chapter 09. Derivative Words. p.205

Chapter 10. Compound Words. p.217

Chapter 11. Syntax and Chrestomathy p. 225

Appendix A. Woolner on Ashokan. p.257

Appendix B. Who was Francis Mason? p. 260


UKT notes :
Base consonants and vowels of BEPS
  -- update 130818 with compromises made to bring Indo-European languages, Eng-Lat & Skt-Dev, and Tibeto-Burman languages, Bur-Myan & Pal-Myan together.
Doggie's Tale - copy-paste 


UKT note to TIL editor 130918:
You can easily digitize to HTML by enlarging the PDF to 125%.
For typing out, you will need to look into individual pages, and each page may have to be cut as:
  p001.gif, p002.gif, p003.gif in PIX-for-txt folder.
For presenting original txt, or, pix, you will save the material in paint-gif. Number each as:
  - from p001 - nil
  - from p002 - p002-01.gif

Dear Mr. Tun,

you can find the whole information for downloading the PDF in English too

Kind regards,
Doreen Stehr


UKT 130624:

When I first started out on this grammar in July 2011, my knowledge of Skt-Dev (Sanskrit speech in Devanagari script) was nil. And my familiarity of phonetics was very meagre. Now I am able to give the akshara-to-akshara transcription between Pal-Myan & Skt-Dev, and also the IPA pronunciations wherever appropriate. However, there are great pronunciation differences between Pal-Myan & Skt-Dev, and the reader is discouraged to pronounce the Pal-Myan words as in Skt-Dev. Do not, therefore, use the IAST transliterations. Similarly, the so-called International Pali which was based on SriLanka pronunciations and the Pal-Myan pronunciations are quite different. Therefore:

Do not pronounce the Pal-Myan words just as you would pronounce the International Pali which is actually Pal-Lat. I am sure our revered Mingun Sayadaw would have agreed with me.

Listen to my invocation (recited by Mingun Sayadaw - pix on right) to seen and unseen forces (entities including deva-gods) to witness my work: invocation <))
Listen to Mingun Sayadaw recite Mora Sutta <))
Mora Sutta is the equivalent of Gayatri Mantra sung by Anuradha Paudwal Gayatri Mantra <))

Unable to get a likeness of {rhing kic~si:}, the ancient Pali-scholar, I am showing the likeness of {rhing wi.sait~ta.}, Mungun Sayadaw, our present-day Pali-Myan scholar. The full official name is {U: wi.sait~ta.a-ra-Bi.wn-a.} . See Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mingun_Sayadaw 130628

I maintain that since Gautama Buddha was born in an area just south of the Himalaya ranges in the Indian subcontinent which extended into Myanmarpr, his pronunciations would be quite similar to that of Pal-Myan and NOT to International Pali. See also F. Edgerton, Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary,
- BHS-indx.htm (link chk 150609)

F. Edgerton has written in his (p002c2-cont) that"
"1.15. The Buddha himself was an 'easterner'; his family lived at Kapilavastu, in northeaster Kosala (Oudh); his wanderings seem to have been chiefly bounded on the west by Srāvastī (also in Kosala, tho considerably to the west of Kapilavastu) and on the east by Rājagrha, the capital of Magadha (Bihar south of the Ganges). All this region belongs linguistically to what is now called modern Bihari (except that Srāvastī may perhaps be just over the line in Eastern Hindi). Doubtless most of his disciples belonged to the same general region, and we may assume that, during the Buddha's lifetime, the Buddhist texts were mainly, at least, recited in eastern dialects. Yet no one knows just what dialect the Buddha spoke; and it seems clear that the dialects of his disciples differed perceptibly."

Since overland routes, across very high mountains, between north-eastern India and northern Myanmarpr had been used by foot travellers long before the time of the Gautama Buddha, the "Pali" spoken in Myanmarpr must be close to the dialect the Buddha had spoken.



UKT 130627, 141220: What is the year marked as A.C. 298 by Rev. F. Mason? As this work by the Buddhist saint Shin Kic-si {kic~s:}, the Calendar is of Theravada Buddhist tradition, in which the epochal year 0 date was the day on which Gautama Buddha died the physical death. The pre-Buddha Prince Siddhartha attained full mental liberation from the bonds of Greed, Anger, Sensuality and Pride on the day he gained insight. It is equivalent to the achievement of Buddhahood which may be called Naibbana {naib~ba.na.}. The word Naibbana {naib~ba.na.} in Pali is equivalent language-wise to Nirvana in Sanskrit. However if you go down to the underlying ideas, Naibbana {naib~ba.na.} means cessation of mental suffering (see UHS-PMD0532), whereas Nirvana is attainment of a physical suffering-free world or Heaven. Naibbana {naib~ba.na.} can be attained before death, but Nirvana can only be attained after the death of the physical body. Years later with the physical death he was finally freed from the ill-effects of Hotness-coldness, Hunger-thirst, Necessities of Sleep-rest, Old age and Disease. The physical death of a person, male or female, who had already gained insight is known as Parinibbāna . [The definition of words Parinibbana (Pali) and  Nirvana (Sanskrit) are mine: there may be other definitions. Calculations based on Burmese-Buddhist tradition gives the date of Prinirvana as 13 May 544 BCE -- Tuesday, Full-moon day of lunar month Kason. See Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_calendar 130627]

Contents of this page

UKT notes

Base consonants and vowels of BEPS

-- UKT 120526, 130518

The instrument for comparison of BEPS languages is Romabama (Burmese-Myanmar transcribed into extended-Latin script) . The table given below is the table of base consonants.

UKT 130904: shape of r1c4 to be changed to make it look more different from r6c1.

Columns #2 and #4 have been described as "aspirated", and an <h> is added to the names of the consonants. For example, the columns are traditionally described as:

c1 - voiceless, c2 - voiceless-aspirated, c3 - voiced,   c-4 - voiced-aspirated , e.g. row#5
        प pa,             फ pha,                           ब ba,          भ bha

In my table above, I have named the columns differently removing the English notion of "aspiration", where the <h> is dropped in Cockney dialect. In Cockney dialect "Henry Higgins" becomes  'enry 'iggins .

I am not satisfied with my description of column c4. I had called it "voiced pharyngeal" at one time because the POA seems to be way back in the throat - the pharynx. Since the pharyngeals are connected with IPA /h/, I am now calling it deep-h. I do not think it is a simple case of voice lag and aspiration .

My intermediary script, Romabama, has its beginnings in my (U Kyaw Tun's) childhood dream in 1940s. In my pre-teen years I have tried to type the Burmese language on my father U Tun Pe's English typewriter. However, Romabama in the present form was launched only in the late 1990s on the Internet from Canada.

Though I realized that I must have training in phonetics and linguistics, I was already advanced in age to go back to school, and I have to learn these subjects online using my analytical skill as a scientist and engineer. I was assisted by my young wife Daw ThanThan Tun who was also a chemist. She had been my classmate and life-long companion since our teenage years, until she died in 2004. I welcome anyone more capable than me to improve my basic requirements.

To come up with a comprehensive alphabet, I have to improvised more than once, such as the one shown for Romabama alphabet r2c4 cell.

My aim in integrating IPA into BEPS is to come up with a reliable transcription -- which would not be perfect for theorists -- of Bur-Myan to Eng-Latin and back. I am finding that I cannot apply the IPA strictly, and transcriptions such as // & /ʝ/ for palatal fricatives, and /ʂ/ & /ʐ/ for retroflex fricatives are taken to be unpronounceable.

For the fricatives, I have taken only /θ/ , /s/, /z/ , /ʃ/ as pronounceable. The English affrices /ʧ/ & /ʤ/ are taken to be mis-pronunciation due to the Western phoneticians not being capable of distinguishing the tenuis {ka.}, {sa.}, {ta.}, {pa.} from the voiceless {hka.}, {hsa.}, {hta.}, {hpa.}.

One of the obstacles is to find a place for Bur-Myan Nya'gyi {a.kri:}, & Nya'le {a.l:}, both of which have to be pushed into one cell r2c5. Until, I realized that monosyllabic medials are found only in Bur-Myan, and not in Skt-Dev, I could not make any progress. When I looked into Skt-Dev conjuncts closely I realized that they are disyllabic conjuncts. I need to come to this understanding to explain the medial-conjunct problem in Pal-Myan, where Nya'gyi {a.kri:} is deemed to be the horizontal conjunct of two Nya'le {a.l:}:

{} + {a.} --> {a.} : only in Pal-Myan

Pal-Myan {a.} cannot be killed without destroying the conjunct
Bur-Myan {a.} + viram --> {} 
Similar to {ya.} + viram --> {}

Then looking into the killed Bur-Myan Nya'gyi {a.kri:}, & Nya'le {a.l:}, I found that killed Bur-Myan Nya'gyi {a.kri:} is almost the same as killed Ya'palak {ya.}. This shows that Nya'gyi {a.kri:} is not a basic nasal, but a basic nasalized approximant. I moved Ya'palak {ya.} to velar position, which provides position for Nya'gyi {a.kri:} in the palatal position.

Most of the Westerners are sibilant speakers. Of the BEPS, languages, Burmese and English speakers are used to non-hissing thibilant /θ/ sounds. An example of an English thibilant word is <thin> /θɪn/. Sanskrit speakers mix up this sound with /s/. Romabama has to make allowances for all these conflicting patterns of sounds, and has to come up with a compromise. It is summarized in the table below.

Now that I am including Mon-Myan into my study, I am putting in another perspective. My online source is:


The vowels are the biggest problem because their production depends on the hyoid bone, the most important part in the voice-box deep down in the throat, behind the Adam's Apple. Hyoid bone is the only bony structure in the human body not connected to any rigid structures except by means of muscles. It is in total isolation, and is connected to the top of the skull with a muscle, to the jaw-bone with another set of muscles, to the lips with still another set of muscles, etc. There are a fairly large number of muscles, and members of different linguistic groups use differing sets of muscles to control the hyoid bone. The result is the vowel sounds of the IE speakers are quite different from Tib-Bur speakers. Here in BEPS languages we are meeting four ethnics who are quite different in external features and who, therefore, should be expected to be different in the use of sets of muscles connected to the hyoid bone. Thus BEPS basic vowels are a compromise. Below is the table of BEPS vowels.

From Lonsdale:

-- UKT 130520
When you refer to Daniels Jones' vowel quadrilateral, the four corners correspond to Bur-Myan vowels, {a.}, {i.}, {u.}, {au:}. Of these, the first 3 correspond to Skt-Dev short-long vowels. These are what are known as {a.wuN} vowels. The problem lies in the open-back vowel {au:}. The vowels that are most troublesome are the mid-vowels, especially because, the IE languages do not have the corresponding vowel to {o} which is the same as IPA /o/. I also have trouble in pinning down what vowel corresponds to IPA /ɔ/ 'open o'.

To bring BEPS vowels to conform to Daniel Jones' quadrilateral and IPA, I should edit the {a.wuN} on two counts: change to {a.}, {i.}-{Ri.}, {u.}. Bring in {au.}. That would complete the 4 corners of the quadrilateral. Secondly,  the {a.a.wuN} should broken up, and paired again. Break up the {U:}-{au} pair. Pair up {:}-{U:} & {}-{o}.  Do I have the courage? Not yet! I need to study further especially the Mon-Myan.

Go back base-con-vow-note-b

Contents of this page

Doggie's Tale

-- UKT 130613

Mnemonic The Doggie Tale: 
Little doggie cringe in fear -- ŋ (velar),
  Seeing Ella's flapping ears -- ɲ (palatal)
  And, the Shepard's hanging rear -- ɳ (retroflex).
Doggie so sad he can't get it out
  What's that Kasha क्ष when there's a Kha ख ?
  And when there's Jana ज्ञ what I am to do with Jha झ?

Note to digitizer: you can copy and paste the following:
Ā ā Ē ē Ī ī Ō ō Ū ū
Ḍ ḍ Ḥ ḥ Ḷ ḷ Ḹ ḹ Ṁ ṁ Ṃ ṃ Ṅ ṅ Ṇ ṇ Ṛ ṛ Ṝ ṝ Ś ś Ṣ ṣ Ṭ ṭ ɕ ʂ
Instead of Skt-Dev ः {wic~sa.} use "colon" :
Avagraha ऽ use apostrophe
Root sign √
Fricatives : च ca छ cha श ś [ɕ] /ʃ/ ; ष ṣ [ʂ] /s/; स s [s] /θ/ ;
Undertie in Dev transcription: ‿ U203F
IPA-, Pali- & Sanskrit nasals: ŋ ṅ ṅ , ɲ , ɳ ṇ ṇ, n n n , m m m
  Pali- & Skt {::ting}: aṁ , aṃ 
IPA symbols: ɑ ɒ ə ɛ ɪ ʌ ʊ ʃ ʧ ʤ θ ŋ ɲ ɳ ɴ ɔ ɹ ʔ /kʰ/ /ː/
  circumflex-acute :
  ấ U+1EA5 , ế U+1EBF
  upsilon-vrachy  ῠ 
  small-u-breve  ῠ ŭ
* Typography: * ‖

Go back Dog-tale-note-b

Contents of this page

End of TIL file